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14 May 2019 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Tsepo Moeketsi
Prof Ashafa
Prof Ashafa’s research documents plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments.

The Phytomedicine and Phytopharmacology Research Programme (PPRP) in the Department of Plant Sciences on the Qwaqwa Campus researches the biological effects of medicinal plants used in the folkloric medicine of the Eastern Free State, particularly to explore the values and contribution of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) towards broader scientific research. This is according to the programme’s principal investigator and researcher, NRF C2-rated researcher, Professor Anofi Ashafa. 

 “Our research is mainly aimed at documenting plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments and to further discover, isolate, and purify active phytoconstituents that are responsible for disease curation or amelioration, thereby assisting in the global promotion of accessible and affordable medication in developing countries,” said Prof Ashafa. 

Since 2012, the PPRP has worked extensively on Basotho medicinal plants (BMP) used as antimicrobials, antioxidants, antidiabetics, antitubercular, anticancer, anthelmintic, and antidiarrheal agents, starting from biological activities up to the  evaluation of the toxicity of these plants for the kidney, liver, and heart functions in order to establish safe dosage parameters. These activities have led to the discovery of four potent antidiabetic biomolecules that are awaiting the processes of patency and commercialisation. Additional outputs include 104 published peer-reviewed articles , 7 postdoctoral fellows, 6 PhDs, 9 master’s, and 16 honours graduates. 

“Our research informs teaching and the development of expertise in ethnobotany, 
phytomedicine, and phytopharmacology in order to contribute to the National Development Plan (NDP) through human capacity development, skills, and knowledge transfer.

The group is also investigating some medicinal plants on the endangered red list of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), through micropropagation and field trials as well as proposing conservation strategies to preserve these valuable species.

The PPRP consists of postdoctoral fellows, PhD, master’s, and honours students and research is done in collaboration with several local and international universities as well as the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa. 


News Archive

US Consul-General speaks at the UFS
2010-09-23

Mr Andy Passen, US Consul-General, and Mr Arthur Johnson from the Internationalisation Office at the UFS.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

The Consul-General of the United States of America, Mr Andy Passen, recently presented a public lecture at the University of the Free State (UFS). He focused on the importance of youth development in the current dispensation and introduced President Barack Obama's Young African Leaders Forum. In his presentation he pressed upon the young leaders that they possessed both the privilege and responsibility to shape the future of Africa for the next 50 years.

He also engaged the UFS as a potential host of the Brown vs Board of Education exhibition, namely Separate is not equal. The exhibition is hosted annually at various cities and higher education institutions in South Africa. The multimedia exhibition uses films, photographs, sound recordings and reconstructions to tell the history of segregation in the USA, the landmark supreme court ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education on 17 May 1954, and the subsequent decades of struggle for racial equality. The exhibition also highlights parallels to the South African experience.

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